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Bay Area Spine Surgeon Treats Spinal Stenosis With Titanium Clip

The Coflex Device Offers An Alternative To Spinal Fusion After Decompression, May Offer Best Treatment To Preserve Range Of Movement For The Right Patients, says Robert Rovner, MD.

Danville, CA – Kim is a 50-something who loves to be active. She participates in marathon bike rides and loves to hike in the mountains.That was until the onset of intense low back pain threatened to keep Kim from her favorite activities.“Pain was radiating from my lower back and down my legs,“ she says. “Sitting down was the only way I could make the pain stop.”

minimally invasive spine surgery helps bay Area woman

Dr. Rovner’s patient Kim rides her bike again after treatment for spinal stenosis.

Spine surgeon Dr. Robert Rovner diagnosed Kim with lumbar spinal stenosis.
Lumbar spinal stenosis refers to a narrowing of the spinal canal in the lower back caused by bone and / or tissue growth in the openings in the spinal bones. This narrowing can compress and irritate the nerves that branch out from the spinal cord. Symptoms can include pain, numbness, or weakness. Vertebrae in Kim’s lower back had become unstable, putting painful pressure on surrounding nerves. Serious cases can require spinal fusion after a decompression procedure but Dr. Rovner recommended a less invasive procedure using “Coflex” a titanium clip-like device .

“Lower back and leg pain caused by lumbar spinal stenosis may now be treated in many cases without resorting to spinal fusion,” says Dr. Rovner, of Disc & Spine in Danville, CA. “This less invasive procedure preserves range of motion and allows for a more rapid recovery.”

Dr. Rovner says that spinal stenosis is usually treated with a procedure called a “laminectomy” to decompress the nerves, combined with fusion to stabilize the spine. With the Coflex procedure, the  clip is placed between two vertebrae immediately after a laminectomy is completed. The spring-like device allows the back to flex while providing support.

“A recently published five-year randomized prospective outcome study of laminectomy and Coflex patients shows outcomes equal to or better than patients who were treated with a combination of laminectomy and fusion. Additionally, there were fewer revision surgeries necessary in the Coflex group during the five years of the study.” (International Journal of Spine Surgery, Michael Musacchio, MD – source: http://ijssurgery.com/10.14444/3006)

“Before Coflex became available I was not used to seeing such rapid recovery and return to function with patients in whom I’ve done either a simple laminectomy alone or laminectomy combined with fusion,” says Dr. Rovner. 

Dr. Rovner says that patients with more advanced stenosis may not be candidates for the Coflex implant and may require more extensive surgery or spinal fusion. “It’s important to consult with a board certified spine surgeon who offers several alternatives for treatment depending on each patient’s condition,” he says.

For more information or to book an appointment call Disc & Spine at 925-275-0700. discandspine.com

Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery In The Bay Area

San Francisco Bay Area spine surgeon Robert Rovner, MD says a new minimally invasive procedure is effective for many patients suffering from back pain and associated leg pain while preserving range of motion.

minimally invasive spine surgery helps bay Area woman

Dr. Robert Rovner’s patient Kim rides her bike after minimally invasive spine surgery.

“ In many cases the pain caused by lumbar spinal stenosis may now be treated using an alternative to spinal fusion,” says Dr. Rovner. The procedure uses a titanium clip called “Coflex” to stabilize the spine after a laminectomy is performed to relieve pressure on the nerves. “This less invasive alternative preserves range of motion with the added benefit of a rapid recovery.”

Dr. Rovner’s patient Kim is in her early 50’s and is extremely active. She participates in marathon bike rides and loves hiking through rugged mountain ranges. But a few years ago Kim began to suffer from intense back pain that became so intense that she was sidelined from enjoying her favorite physical activities..

Kim was experiencing nerve pain that radiated from her lower back down to her legs. “The only time I wasn’t in pain was when I was sitting,” she says. Dr. Rovner diagnosed Kim with lumbar spinal stenosis which was causing vertebrae in her lower back to become unstable, creating pressure on the surrounding nerves.

Lumbar spinal stenosis is usually treated with a procedure called a “laminectomy” which removes a section of bone from the vertebrae to decompress the nerves. A laminectomy is usually followed with spinal fusion to stabilize the spine. Instead, Dr. Rovner recommended a less invasive procedure using the “Coflex” device. “The Coflex was implanted after a laminectomy procedure to hold Kim’s vertebrae in position while allowing them to flex, preserving range of motion rather than fusing the vertebrae together,” says Dr. Rovner.

“The first patient I treated with the Coflex procedure was back to playing tennis and golf two weeks after his surgery,” says Dr. Rovner. “The rapid recovery and return to function with Coflex is something that I’m not used to seeing with patients in whom I’ve done either a simple laminectomy alone or laminectomy combined with fusion.”

Kim plans to return to some long-delayed adventures. ”I’m going to be doing some backpacking and I’m planning to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro with my son,” she says.

Dr. Rovner says that not all patients are candidates for the Coflex clip. ”Patients with more advanced stenosis may not be candidates for Coflex and may require more extensive surgery or fusion, so it’s important to consult with a board certified spine surgeon who offers several alternatives for treatment depending on each patient’s condition.”

For more information on non-surgical therapies and surgical treatment for back or neck pain and injuries call the office of Robert Rovner, MD at Disc & Spine in Danville, CA at 925.275.0700 Visit www.DiscAndSpine.com

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New Scoliosis Treatment Developed By California Spine Surgeon

Scoliosis is an abnormal, often progressive curvature of the spine that also causes the spine to rotate. Danville, CA spine surgeon Robert Rovner, MD has developed a new technique and surgical hardware to more fully correct the spine’s rotation for the first time. This rotation can create a telltale “rib hump” which is not fully corrected by conventional surgical procedures. “I believe this procedure can provide the best outcomes compared to the currently available treatments for scoliosis,” says Dr. Rovner.

“Scoliosis is most often diagnosed in childhood or early adolescence, although there are many adults living with scoliosis which can continue to worsen,” says Dr. Rovner. “Scoliosis can cause a rotational deformity characterized by a protruding “rib hump” which occurs when the ribs on the high side are rotated up. This can result in a ‘hunchback’ – like appearance.”

Dr. Rovner’s procedure employs a device that allows the surgeon to make the spine as straight as possible by enabling adjustments from both sides of the spine, instead of from just one side. “Conventional surgeries focus on correcting the curvature deformity but will only slightly correct the rotation of the spine,” he says.

Shelly, 31, recently underwent the new procedure performed by Dr. Rovner. At age 10 she was diagnosed dr-rovner-shows-shellys-x-rays-copy with scoliosis. At he time Shelley had a  39 degree spinal curvature, but her parents decided not to approve the recommended surgery that was available at the time, which was extremely daunting. “I would have had to be in a full body cast for many months,” she says. Shelly decided to have the procedure done earlier this year, after she had her first child.  Dr. Rovner says at the time of Shelly’s surgery the curvature of her spine had increased to 54 degrees. “The spine’s normal curvature should be zero,” says Dr. Rovner. “Shelly’s curvature and rotation have been returned to normal levels and she is now doing very well.”

Robert Rovner, MD is a board certified spine surgeon at Disc & Spine in Danville, CA.